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Lead Director at MarketAxess Departs

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 00:00
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The electronic trading platform MarketAxess Holdings is losing Nicolas Rohatyn, a prominent financier who has helped shape the company for more than a decade.

In a two-sentence regulatory filing Thursday, the company disclosed that Mr. Rohatyn, who has served on the company’s board since 2000, would not seek re-election at the company’s June 7 annual meeting. He has served as the firm’s lead director.

Mr. Rohatyn is a well-known figure on Wall Street. A former member of J.P. Morgan’s executive management team, he is currently chief executive of the Rohatyn Group, a hedge fund and asset manager specializing in emerging markets. He is also the son of Felix Rohatyn, the former ambassador to France and the financier who helped end New York’s 1970s fiscal crisis by restructuring its debt.

Mr. Rohatyn called his departure a kind of self-imposed term limit, saying he remained a fan of the company. “You’re supposed to leave from a position of strength, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do,” he said.

The chairman and chief executive of MarketAxess, Richard M. McVey, also cast the departure as a natural development after a long-term relationship. “He’s been nothing but supportive of the firm from Day 1,” Mr. McVey said.

MarketAxess, which is based in New York, caters to institutional investors buying and selling corporate bonds and other fixed-income instruments, including United States agency bonds, asset-backed securities and credit default swaps.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday morning that the bond-trading giantBlackRock was planning to begin a matchmaking service for companies buying and selling fixed-income instruments. That business would provide an alternative to MarketAxess’s dealer-based approach.

Shares of MarketAxess were off sharply Thursday morning, at one point falling to $32.92 a share, down 9.5 percent. They recovered to $36.21 a share before the close, down about 1 percent.

Mr. McVey called the drop in stock price a “knee-jerk reaction” by the market to the article, one of several lately noting BlackRock’s plans and other efforts to improve bond markets.

But he acknowledged that broad efforts were moving to reshape how the bond market works.

Theo Francis is a senior reporter for the Web site, a division of the financial information company Morningstar, which scrutinizes corporate disclosures.